To each of us, Christ comes as he came to Mary herself, wanting to stretch us spiritually, physically, emotionally, and socially, taking away everything, even all we might have thought good or godly of ourselves: our good names, our good futures, our innocence. Mary certainly had reasons to say "No" to the invitation that came to her on angel’s wings. She was facing an assuring future: a husband to wed, a home to create, a good reputation. Saying "Yes" to God and the words of the angel Gabriel was to put all of this on the line, everything she had and might have once clung to with good reason. Could you do the equivalent? Could you release security, love, reputation, or even your youth from your own determined grasp? Mary’s risk was no less difficult than the most sacrificial act you could imagine of your own life. Saying "Yes" to the Christ child and to the knocking of his love will surely bring down the houses we have built, even the rooms that house the things we hold onto most fiercely.
Yet this is precisely his invitation: "6For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6). He comes with the annunciation of great sacrifice and pregnant impossibilities, and he assures us not to be afraid. Where meek and foolish souls give everything to receive him, they still find themselves the wisest.
So as I think of Mary’s gift, I am reminded that the gift that we can give to Jesus this Christmas is our hearts, our souls, our minds, our everything. Jesus wants it all. He is asking each of us to say ‘yes’ to Him to whatever He is asking us to do or to be. Like Mary, are we willing to say ‘may it be to me according to Your word’ or ‘may your word to me be fulfilled’. Are we willing to believe God and take Him at His word? Are we willing to let God’s word, His truth have its way in us? Like Mary, the gift that we can give to Jesus this Christmas is to believe in His promises, to take His word to heart, to accept His truths, to walk in obedience to His word, to receive whatever He wants to give to us. ----that may not be easy, for these gifts that we may give to Him may come in the form of pain, in loss, in grief, in brokenness but as God gives and takes a way, He never takes Himself a way from us. And so as we celebrate His birth afresh, may we like Mary yield and surrender to His Lordship daily, may we offer our lives to Him as a living sacrifice as a spiritual act of worship, as we say ‘Yes’ to Him, as we give Him our hearts completely and unreservedly, may the gift that He unleashes in us lead us into a journey of greater freedom, greater wholeness, greater power, deeper hope, deeper joy, deeper peace and most of all a deeper love for the One whose love toward us is everlasting. After all, the greatest gift that we can give to Jesus is to love Him with all that we have and all that we are!